The most anticipated trip for most campers at Crane Lake is Olim’s four day expedition through Montreal, Canada. Even Nitzanim campers are filled with envy whenever the Olim campers came back wearing their newly bought Ben & Jerry’s or maple leaf T-shirts. On the trip, campers are given free time to partake in typical tourist activities like buying souvenirs and eating delicious Canadian foods (the maple syrup is mouthwatering). Additionally, the campers experience once in a lifetime opportunities that make up a four day itinerary that has stayed similar for many years.
The trip begins in Lake Placid, New York, with a tour of the 1980 Olympic training facility. Here campers are able to test an Olympic grade paintball gun, ride on a ski-lift to the top of a practice mountain, and observe hopeful winter Olympians as they practice their death defying tricks into a stunt pool. Often campers see professional skiers literally flipping and twirling into a body of water. The New York Olympic Regional Authority (ORDA) was originally created to operate the facilities used during the 1980 winter Olympic games. Now, its purpose is purely for training and tourism. Y’all might remember the hockey-movie Miracle: a reality which took place where Crane Lake campers have traveled for many summers.
Just an hour or so from Lake Placid is the Canadian border. A quick stop at American/Canadian customs and campers are officially in a different country and ready for the Montreal experience. For some, this is their first time out of the country and it can be quite disorienting given that most of the street signs are written in French. Nonetheless, the first day in Montreal is exhilarating. Jet boating on the St-Lawrence River is a water filled adventure like no other and the Lachine Rapids are most certainly not lazy. In fact, the flat-bottomed boats are able to zoom through class five rapids which are ranked as ‘extremely difficult’. The rest of the day involves hiking beautiful Mt. Royal and spending time at La Ronde (the Six Flags of Montreal).
Day three is less thematic than the thrill-centric “yesterday” however is still full of amazement. A newer addition to the trip is the unique visit to the Montreal Insectarium where campers were astounded by the incomparable adaptations and surprising behavior of over 250,000 insect species. Creepy crawlers then lead to free time on St. Catherine Street where campers can eat at various restaurants and shop at department stores like Oglivy and Roots. Additionally, campers have the opportunity to ice skate at La Atrium before they head to the day’s final event: Laser Quest. This multiple floor laser tag extravaganza is a chance for competitive persons to battle to the end and get sweaty while navigating the challenging landscape.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. However, not before ice cream is consumed. After packing their bags and traveling back over the border into the United States, the Olimers stop in Vermont to enjoy a tour of Ben & Jerry’s original factory. After observing the ice cream making process (and maybe buying a t-shirt), campers organize into groups (typically of four) to conquer what is known as “The Vermonster”. This 20 scoop, 4 banana, 3 cookie, 1 brownie, 4 servings of hot fudge or caramel, 2 scoops of toppings, beast… has become a camp tradition over the years. As one might guess, “The Vermonster” has been the reigning champion each year as the insane amount of ice cream infamously cripples digestive systems.
A brisk walk in Burlington, last minute souvenirs, presents for Nitz buddies, and hasty conversions of Canadian money, mark the end of the trip and a long ride home to CLC. Check out our video to experience this year’s trip!